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Young and Hungry at Westside
July 3, 2012VYPE MAGAZINE - West Houston
By Ahmard Vital
Fox Sports Next
On National Signing Day this past year, Westside coach Mark Byrd got the chance to stand tall as a proud father. From his Wolves team which finished 8-3, 15 players got the chance to extend their football careers as well as their education by accepting scholarships to a number of college programs.
And with that is the good, but also some level of concern. And that concern is plenty of talent is on its way out. Good thing for Byrd is that from last season and this past spring, a number of underclassmen good significant snaps.
“After signing 15 guys (from last year) we had a lot to look at. What helped us most is knowing we have a lot of young depth, lots of kids hungry to get on the field,” Byrd said. “We are building off of last year’s success. A lot of those guys are part of it as far as youth because they were able to stay on the junior varsity and get a ton of reps. Reps right now are important going into the fall.”
Much like a number of other programs across the city and state, new faces will show up on Friday and Saturday nights. Seeing these kids blossom is something that Byrd was hoping to see.
It seems that they did not disappoint. Then again, there are some solid guys returning that should help the younger guys get acclimated as well.
“It was exciting to see the young kids come out with that fire. And at the same time, we have some good guys returning,” Byrd said. “We have three of our five offensive linemen back. Knowing that we have that intact, I believe we can move the ball down the field.”
Defensively, Byrd said that defensive backs, Hipolito Corporan and Ali Rasheed are the “sparks on defense” as these are two proven players from a year ago.
One area of concern for Westside was what to do at running back. This is a position that Byrd is used to having a great deal of stability. It seems as though that issue was addressed this past offseason.
“We had concerns at running back. We had a kid move in named Xavier Holeman,” Byrd said. “After losing BJ Catalon we had a lot to fulfill. We had a couple guys come in (Holeman and Jacob Gutierrez). They were able to run between the tackles really well.”
Moving forward, the fight for supremacy is back in full effect as the 2012 season will be here in a couple short months. Byrd sees the district a weekly fight and will approach the game just like that.
“I think that the question is how we get through Lamar and Bellaire. There’s no doubt that those two teams are stacked,” Byrd said. “I think Bellaire is the strongest team coming in, but in all, I think we have a pretty good slate ahead of us.”